Yes, it's graduation season once again -- the time when some of the wisest and most successful people in the world give advice to that wide-eyed, green, ridiculously optimistic group known as college graduates.
There are more than 4,000 institutions of higher learning in the U.S. alone, and they all just had their commencement exercises. That means more than 4,000 people were chosen to spew their words of infinite wisdom from a podium, hoping some of it lands in the ears of those few college graduates who were not too hung over from the real graduation celebrations.
Eliminate the speeches that started with "Commencement doesn't mean an ending -- it means a beginning," and that leaves us with approximately 2,500 excellent graduation speeches chock full of great guidance not just for college graduates but for all of us.
As advice spewers ourselves, we took the time to read every single speech and come up with a few choice pieces of advice that should help you and your dental practice.
Speaking to the graduates of Pepperdine University (our pick for college with the most striking location), Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes said:
"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire! We assumed we would have to fail 10,000 times to get to the 10,001st which would work. And we did. We set ourselves on fire!"
Of course this doesn't mean you should do 10,000 crown preps before you get one right, but remember -- not everything you try to grow your practice will work. Don't give up. Regroup, learn, and keep trying.
Speaking at Denison University (of which Steve Carell is a graduate), Deirdre McCloskey said: "By getting a good salary, you must be doing something that other people value."
It all starts with excellent clinical dentistry and -- maybe even more important -- truly caring about each and every patient, no matter how annoying they may be.
At Harvard University, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick said:
"I urge you to be a little uneasy -- the kind of unease that comes from being a little unsure that you already know what you need to know. The kind of restlessness that compels you to look beyond yourself for answers and meaning. As my grandmother used to say, 'What you don't know could fill a book!' "
And finally, John Seely Brown, independent co-chairman of Deloitte's Center for The Edge (do they have a center for Bono also?), gave this advice at one of the largest public universities, Arizona State:
"What characterizes the career trajectories you, today, are embarking on? For my parents, the typical career trajectory was like a steamship. They set the course, fired up the engines, and powered ahead.
"For your parents, sitting here today -- and for me -- our career trajectories have been navigated more like a sailboat. We set course and, through skillful tacking and maneuvering, we've played the winds and currents to get where we thought we wanted to go. Blown off course sometimes, it is still a well-crafted trajectory.
"But for you all, today the environment is radically different. The way I see your world is this: You are living in a white-water world. You must be more like a white-water kayaker who skillfully reads the currents and disruptions of the context around you."
In dentistry, there is more opportunity than ever, but the waters are also rougher than they used to be. Don't get stuck in your ways and insulated in your practice. Be the white-water kayaker and don't be afraid of change. Now go out there and make a difference!!
In 1989, Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS, founded The Madow Brothers with the goal of helping their fellow dentists achieve success and happiness in their practices. For more information about their e-letters, audio series, New Patient Mail marketing program, Dental Powerhouse group, their live presentations (including "How To Love Dentistry, Have Fun, and Prosper," "The Ultimate Dental Boot Camp," and especially "TBSE"), and more, check them out at www.madow.com.
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